Best New Year’s Eve Movie Scene


Best New Year’s Eve Movie Scene

The best New Year’s Eve movie scene ever comes from ‘The Godfather: Part II’.  In the Godfather movie trilogy, which has so many mesmerizing scenes, Michael Corleone’s kiss of death he gave his brother Fredo at a New Year’s Eve party was one of the most riveting and unforgettable scenes in movie cinema history. The setting is a New Year’s Eve party at a night club in Havana, Cuba. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and his brother Fredo (John Cazale) are in attendance. Fredo just had a slip of tongue that let Michael figure out that Fredo is the traitor in the family who had assisted in an assassination attempt on Michael’s life earlier in the movie.  At midnight, Michael confronts Fredo out on the dance floor, gives him the ‘kiss of death’, and tells him, “I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart…. You broke my heart!”.

There are many memorable movie scenes set around New Year’s Eve in movie history; The final scene from ‘When Harry Met Sally’ (1989), when Billy Crystal confesses his love for Meg Ryan — Fred Astaire’s comedic drunk dance at a New Year’s Eve celebration from ‘Holiday Inn’ (1942)  — Jack Lemmon’s and Shirley McClain’s romance in ‘The Apartment’ (1962) which ends with Shirley’s memorable quote, “shut up and deal“– these are just three of many others that deserve recognition, but in my opinion, that fifteen seconds from ‘The Godfather: Part II’ was easily the best single movie scene ever that was set on New Year’s Eve.

**John Cazale, who played Fredo in ‘The Godfather’ and ‘The Godfather: Part II’ only starred in five movies in his six year career. All five movies were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture of the Year. The two Godfather movies, ‘The Conversation’ (1974) with Gene Hackman, ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ (1975) again with Al Pacino, and ‘The Deer Hunter’ (1978) with Robert Di Niro.  While filming ‘The Deer Hunter’, Cazale was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer that had already spread into his bones. Despite the diagnoses, he continued to work on the film with his fiancee and co-star Meryl Streep. Director Michael Cimino rearranged the shooting schedule with Cazale’s and Streep’s permission so he could film all his scenes first. He completed all his scenes, but died soon after, on March 12, 1978, before the film was finished. Said Al Pacino of his close friend John Cazale, “All I wanted to do was work with John for the rest of my life. He was my acting partner.”

John Cazale and Meryl Streep 1978

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